Steps to Showing Respect (when you don’t feel like it)

In the last post, I confessed that I was not respecting my husband when his behavior was in conflict with my value/needs/desires. I learned that I had to identify the actions and separate them from the person.  This was the first and most significant step to improving my marriage.

So, you say, “HOW do you respect” someone who consistently [you fill in the blank]: ________ demeans, hurts, leaves, does not meet my needs, etc.? It is a process that evolves through these phases:

1) Separating the action from the person

2) Communicating.  Begin by Seeking First to Understand and then to be Understood (Stephen Covey’s Habit 5 in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People).  It is important to show respect by caring enough to ask why and what they intended by their words or actions; then when you have completely given your all to listen emphatically to understand him/her you get your turn to attempt to be “understood”. For example, when you did ‘x’ I felt ‘z’.  There may be attempts to discredit your feelings, however, if you truly humbly listen and attempt to understand his/her actions you may find your partner is more willing to listen and understand you. If they do not, persist in a gentle tone with an explanation that your feelings are reality to you even if he/she says you should not feel that way.

3) Identifying reactive patterns that YOU have in response to your partner’s words or actions.  What can you do to prepare in advance to respond in love based on your values versus being caught unprepared and reacting with your emotions (yelling, throwing, swearing, leaving, you name your reaction here: ______________) .

4) Respond in love and humility.

5) Persist.  Even when you do not ‘feel’ like it, even when his/her actions do not call for it (look up verses on how patient and persistent God has been with you!).

Note: If you are in a situation where you or someone under your care is in physical, emotional, social danger because of your partner – PLEASE seek Godly and Biblical counsel to get safety.  God does not harm or condone harm. God is only GOOD.

A great resource to overcome negative patterns in your marriage is The Crazy Cycle by Dr. Emerson Eggerich.


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